London Metropolitan University shuts India offices

London Metropolitan University`s licence to admit and teach international students was revoked by the UK Border Agency.

London: Amidst continuing uncertainty facing over 350 Indian students, the London Metropolitan University has closed its two offices in New Delhi and Chennai, which until recently were involved in processing the applications of Indian students.

London Metropolitan University`s (LMU) licence to admit and teach international students was on Thursday revoked by the UK Border Agency (UKBA) due to "serious and systemic failures".

The revocation let to fury among students and several stake-holders who said the action was "disproportionate" that would endanger the future of the university.
A university representative on Friday confirmed to a news agency that the two offices in India had been closed.

Until two days ago, LMU listed the contact details of its offices in New Delhi and Chennai. The details have now been removed from its webpage focused on India.

Since yesterday, calls to the two offices were greeted with automated messages.

LMU`s webpage on India states: "London Metropolitan University is one of the most popular universities in the UK for students from India", and promises a GBP 1000 `scholarship`.

It also mentions details about awarding `Mahatma Gandhi scholarships` to three postgraduate students.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson of the Indian high commission said it was in touch with LMU, but none of the over 350 Indian students affected by the revocation had so far contacted the high commission for assistance.

Universities UK, the organisation representing all British universities, sought to reassure international students at other universities that the decision to revoke LMU`s licence did not affect them.

Prof Eric Thomas, the president of Universities UK, said: "The action by the UKBA applies to London Metropolitan University alone and it will not affect international students registered with the other 133 universities in UUK`s membership".

He added: "The UKBA`s decision only relates to the administrative requirements placed on London Metropolitan University in order to gain and retain its highly trusted sponsor status, which enabled it to recruit international students. It is certainly not part of a wider crackdown on international students coming to the UK, as some have suggested".

Prof Thomas said the UK would continue to welcome international students to some of the best universities in the world.